Pierre Gasly says he knew his wing was damaged but was unsure how badly before he found himself a passenger in his crash at the start of the Sprint at the Italian Grand Prix.
The AlphaTauri driver made a good start and was fighting for fourth place into Turn 1 but tapped Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren and damaged his front wing. The wing then failed as he was going flat out through Curva Grande and pitched him straight into the wall, with Gasly admitting it was an unpleasant feeling to be unable to turn the car.
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 11, 2021
“I felt the contact with Daniel and straight after that I went on the radio to ask the team, ‘Let me know if there’s something’ and literally two seconds after that the front wing went under the car and I went straight into the wall,” Gasly said.
“I could see some sparks, but I didn’t know if it was the endplate which was scratching on the floor or if it was actually the front wing that was fully dislocated. Basically it was I think five or six seconds after the contact it went under the car and that was it.
“Even if you have a problem as long as you can turn and kind of direct the car in the direction that you want, that’s fine. But at such a speed when I felt the front wing under the car and I was turning but just going straight into the wall, was clearly not a nice feeling. At the end I’m fine and that’s the most important, but obviously very disappointed because we had a very good start.”
The incident means Gasly will be forced to start the grand prix from the back of the grid, but he says the format isn’t to blame.
“Today was nothing to do with the Sprint race, so I can’t really make any conclusion with the format. It was just unfortunate this contact which caused us to lose the front wing. It was very unfortunate but now we need to move on for tomorrow.”
Gasly expects a tough Sunday after seeing a number of drivers struggle to overtake during the short race on Saturday.
“We know that it’s going to be very difficult and that’s the only thing I looked at today out of the (race). I could see Lewis (Hamilton) really struggled and could not pass Lando (Norris), same with the Alpines and Aston Martins — really close for many laps but still no overtakes. We know it’s going to be extremely difficult to come back. But at the end of the day whether you finish P18, P11, P15 it’s the same, it doesn’t mean anything, so we need to try everything to at least score a point.”